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Published November 5, 2018

Ep 036: Angela Ahrendts with John Maxwell

TOPICS IN THIS PODCAST

Leading OrganizationsVision

Have you ever been inspired by a leader whose life embodies a bold vision and a genuine love for people? Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of Retail at Apple, exudes a contagious joy and personal warmth that sets her leadership apart. In this wide-ranging interview, she discusses how she unexpectedly became a CEO, the importance of work-life balance, how to get the most out of people and the difference between “hard strategies” and “heart strategies.” This interview was recorded in a small, private setting in front of a live audience.

Show Notes

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SUMMARY:

Have you ever been inspired by a leader whose life embodies a bold vision and a genuine love for people? Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of Retail at Apple, exudes a contagious joy and personal warmth that sets her leadership apart. In this wide-ranging interview, she discusses how she unexpectedly became a CEO, the importance of work-life balance, how to get the most out of people and the difference between “hard strategies” and “heart strategies.” This interview was recorded in a small, private setting in front of a live audience.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The Path to CEO
    • I never planned to be a CEO. I always just tried to do my life’s greatest work.
    • No matter what I’m doing, I’m in the people business. You do not become a CEO on your own.
    • If you unite amazing people and achieve amazing results, eventually those above you will want to know the leader who enabled those results.
  • Investing in People
    • Investing in people involves both a financial and developmental approach.
      • Financial: When I came to Apple, the corporate employees had benefits that the retail employees did not. Equal benefits show our people that they are part of a greater whole. Now all employees get stock options and fair wages.
      • Development programs: Apple invests in tuition reimbursement and other programs to identify and develop talent.
    • When leaders invest holistically in people, that investment sends the message that “my leader cares.”
  • Work/Life Balance
    • I have three jobs: I have a husband; I have children and I have a career. I’m going to retire from the career one day. And the kids are going to have their own lives. I’ve always hoped that I can live happily ever after with my best friend.
    • Life is about choices. I keep the end goal in mind and choose to live a life of balance.
  • The “Bigger Boss”
    • When I’m making decisions, I filter everything through my belief in a “bigger boss.”
    • I remind myself that I have a bigger boss that I’m accountable to every minute of my life.
  • Visionary Leadership
    • The bigger the vision you have, the more challenging execution will be.
    • The best strategies are not 52 things. They are a handful of simple things that can permeate your culture through repetition and consistent, clear communication.
    • If you want to accomplish your dream, the dream must stay consistent. You can’t go after a different dream every day.
  • “Hard Strategies” and “Heart Strategies”
    • Every company has “hard strategies” (metrics, goals, budgets) and “heart strategies” (higher purpose).
    • I ask the question, “How many people can we touch and transform by the power of our people and the platforms we create?”
    • The only reason I left Burberry to go to Apple was because of the opportunity to do good on an incredible platform. It’s a calling, not a job.
    • My job as a leader is to inspire people to do their life’s best work.

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

1. Angela discussed several key topics in this interview. Which topic was the most interesting to you?

  • How to become a CEO
  • How to invest in people
  • How to approach work/life balance
  • How to think about God as your “bigger boss”
  • How to execute a vision
  • How to integrate “hard strategies” with “heart strategies”

2. Think about your own leadership. In what specific way could you take a next step to implement one of her ideas into your work life over the next week?

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Burberry

Apple Retail

Apple Corporate

Oscar Party

Rose-Colored Glasses

JFK: Man on the Moon

Apple Hits $1 Trillion Market Value

RELATED LINKS:

Angela Ahrendts

Apple

John C. Maxwell

The John Maxwell Company

The Global Leadership Summit

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